The Chill of Victory
As a life-long Minnesota Vikings fan, I have never ever experienced the joy of winning a Super Bowl and being the champion. Not even once. I am old enough to have watched three of the Vikings’ four Super Bowl losses, the last one coming in 1977 at the hands of the Oakland Raiders. As a die-hard Vikings’ fan, it’s been one heart-wrenching disappointment and heartbreak after another. Since their last Super Bowl appearance 36 years ago, the Vikes have made it to the NFC Championship game five times – and each time failed win it. Two of the losses were in overtime. In that time span, only San Francisco has more NFC Championship game losses (6) than Minnesota.(Of course, the 49ers also WON the championship five times in that stretch.) It looked like the Vikes might get back to the big game in 2009 when Brett Favre led them to the NFC Championship game before losing in overtime. The following season the Vikes could muster only 6 wins, and last year only 3.
With that bit of historical perspective in mind, perhaps you can understand the mind-set of a Minnesota Vikings’ fan hungry for SOMETHING positive to cheer about. So this past Sunday when the Vikings beat the Packers on the final play of the final game of the regular season to get INTO the playoffs, it called for a special celebration. With the score tied and time winding down in this game, it looked like the Packers were going to pull it out and stick the Vikings with another disappointing loss. . Yet, I made the declaration. “If the Vikings win, I’m going into the pool.”
Now, normally, such a statement in the Valley of the Sun – Phoenix, Arizona, where I was enjoying the holidays, would not generate a hair of interest. But, the fact is, even Phoenix is on the cool side in December. With day time temperatures in the 50s, the temperature of the water in the pool is a chilly 58 degrees. I did not know this prior to my declaration. Nor did I “test” the water prior to taking my victory leap. Nor did my sister-in-law, Marjorie, who was very much aware of the water temperature in her pool, bother to mention to me exactly how cold the water was – until AFTER the celebratory leap.
As it turns out, the Vikings moved into field goal range and rookie kicker Blair Walsh booted a game- winning field goal as time expired. The Vikings won. No, it wasn’t a Super Bowl win, but it was a significant victory nonetheless. It got them into the playoffs. And I was about to get wet. Very wet! And cold. Very Cold. But very happy!!
In this video, Marjorie chronicles the event with her commentary as she captures the moment LIVE as it happens. Did I mention it was cold? VER-R-R-R-Y cold??
Here’s a fan video of the game winning kick in the Metrodome.